Hey, look! More mail
Here’s the rest of the weekend mail, have fun.
Be back tomorrow with the usual drivel to start getting ready for the worlds.
Q: Doug. Will you be reporting from Turkey in articles or in blog postings? As much as I enjoy the blog, my thought is that the former will be more effective in broadening interest in our international program, as well as international BBall in general. Is that a consideration for you and the Star? Another question: why does Serbia seem to be excluded from online video scheduling, at least as far as what is posted in the FIBA home-page banner. Cheers - I am looking forward to the tournament and your insights.
Alfred D, St. John’s
A: Both, actually.
It’ll be very much like the regular NBA season, in fact. There will be “news” stories that are more straight reporting and deal with game details and the regular morning blog (although with the time difference it may be more overnight than morning here) that is more conversational and deals with things that wouldn’t go in a straight story.
But I think you’ll be well served.
As for the on-line video scheduling thing? I have no idea, I believe FIBA’s TV arm is doing live streaming of every game, and that would include Serbia.
Q: Hi Doug. You, like other sports reporters, mention in many articles about your sources telling you this or that. I'm wondering what propels them to do that. Why would anyone want to be a source? Couldn't be for fame or glory, since they are all anonymous.
Sohail G, Collingwood
A: There are a few reasons, I think, although I’ve never asked specifically. Sometimes, I think you could assume that someone in an organization might want to give a writer or broadcaster a leg up on the competition if they’ve been working a story (like a trade or a firing or somesuch) quite hard, sometimes people let things slip in the course of a private conversation and when they’re pressed to let it out say something like “sure, but don’t use my name” and, truth be told, sometimes disgruntled execs like to let things leak as a way to let another team know that it’s out there or because they’ve been spurned on related deal.
But, you’re right, it’s not like “sources” are whistleblowers in the vein of, like, Deep Throat or Erin Brockovich.
Q: Hi Doug. Thanks for keeping up the blog every day. I can't believe how reliable this space is. Anyways, I have been thinking about something for a while now. I know it's a bit far-fetched, but what do you think of the Raptors brass encouraging the fans to take on a "college-style" atmosphere at home games. This would make the Raptors unique among NBA franchises, and might encourage players to come here in free agency. For example, Cornell hockey has always been renowned for starting the "It's all your fault" chant to the goalie, and putting a newspaper in front of your face while the opposing team is being announced. The Raptors could think of their own quirky traditions, and I think there is a large enough hardcore fan-base in Toronto that it would fly. Your thoughts?
Mark I, Oakville
A: I think those kinds of traditions have to come from the fans rather than anything the team can mandate or make happen. I’d be interested to see what this crowd could come up with other than chants about pizza and hating Vince Carter. I guess Hedo and Bosh give them new targets but, really, that’s old and boring.
Q: Hey Doug, I know this ones early, but hopefully you don't forget about it come next mailbag.
Was just wondering what your true opinion of Vince Carter is, and what his deserved 'legacy' will be 20 years from now within the organization. Do you believe he will ever truly get his comeuppance for what he did for the Toronto Raptors?
I think it should be noted, that not once did he publicly speak ill of the organization, city, or the country. *cough*Chris Bosh*cough*
Joey H, Toronto
A: Comeuppance? For taking the franchise to unprecedented heights of global popularity? Or for being the most electrifying player in the game for a short spell? Or what?
Seriously, it didn’t end well, I know it wasn’t his fault the GM gave him away for a bag of bones and his legacy should be a guy who did more for the franchise than perhaps anyone who whined his way out of town when he saw what direction (straight down) the team was going at the time.
Now, his overall legacy will be of an extraordinary talent who never really took responsibility for his greatness and that is his biggest failing.
Q: Hi Doug, Let's say you've been given the green light (and vast amounts of cash) to produce (and star in when and if you felt like it) a daily Canadian sports talk show - the one you have always wanted to see on television. Now, since this is all about you and your vision (and this is so obviously a parallel universe here) how would you proceed? What "look" would this show of yours have? Would you tape it in front an audience within the ambiance of a favourite pub? Or would you take your show on the road and film from a personally-researched selection of bistros, bars, and watering holes across the country? Or, maybe you would prefer to be set in the quiet comfort from the sofas at Casa Doug, or even a closed studio at an undisclosed location? Would there be any sports you wouldn't cover? Ones that you think deserve to get some new-found coverage? Any topics too controversial, or conversely covered way too much by too many shows already? What would the theme song be and who would cater the food (yeah, all the really important stuff!) And, most important, who would your dream co-hosts be? Thank you.
Lorie P, London
A: It would absolutely be in a pub surrounded by esoteric memorabilia (think Jim Lonborg’s skis and that’s about as obscure as you can get, I think) with a studio audience and would be entirely non-serious for the most part. Sure, the issues of the day would be covered by in a true conversational style rather than screaming or shouting. I wouldn’t touch on crap like poker or pre-season anything.
Guests? Perk would be at the top of the list, for sure, and if I didn’t have Stumpy it wouldn’t be a show but I’d probably rotate the fourth guy through until we found a good fit. If Sam Mitchell wasn’t working, I’d get him in a New York minute and I might try to get Butch Carter as a regular.
Q: What do you think of Donald Sterling's recent comments criticizing his GM and the players the Clippers acquired this summer? I don't see how an organization can function properly when the boss openly bashes his employees in public, and fails to even know some of their names. I think Donald Sterling has been a disgrace to the NBA for far too long, and from being a regular reader of your blog I know you agree with me. Is there anything David Stern can do about him?
Andrew G, Montreal
A: I personally think Donald Sterling is a buffoon and wouldn’t got to work for him in a billion years, I wouldn’t go play for him unless I had no other choice and if I had to, I would mark the days on the wall until I could get out.
That said, there’s really nothing Dave Stern can do, you take the good with the bad.
Q: Doug. August is boring as far as the NBA is concerned. I need a blockbuster to keep me entertained. And no, I'm not talking about "Inception". Maybe a Bargnani trade while he's at his highest value? I can only wish.
Anyhow, I do have a question, believe it or not. There has been so much speculation recently about where Carmelo and Chris Paul will end up, when a) both players are contract for one and two more years respectively and there is no way to predict what the scenery will be then, b) 95% of the time disgruntled superstars don't get traded regardless of how "miserable" their lives have become, and c)their value has decreased now, so the odds of a trade happening now is less likely.
But let's say that none of these things are an obstacle. Why is no one talking about how two of the "model" players in the league are throwing tantrums? I have no sympathy for either one of those players. These things you keep behind closed doors. It's a matter between you and management. Bringing in the fans and reporters is a cheap move and will only cause you to leave the team's fans on bad terms.
I'm hoping you shed some light on this Doug. Maybe I'm just a bitter young man who doesn't understand these NBA players' prized emotions.
John K, Oakville
A: People probably aren’t talking because they’re bored by the narcissist tendencies of pro athletes. I think there’s a large bout of LeBron Fatigue sweeping the fans of the sport right now and since there’s no urgency or impending departure of either of them (and the Paul talked quieted quickly), I think most fans just yawn and move on.
Q: Can a player under NBA contract refuse to play (Rudy F.) and get another gig in Europe or other parts of the world?
(If so, why buy-outs for players like Rubio when they want to come to the NBA?)
Bruce M, Winnipeg
A: Short answer: No. Unless they can negotiate some settlement of the NBA contract, a player cannot sign anywhere else. And, in the case of a player under contract to a European team wanting to come to North America, the buyout simply ends up voiding the contract, making him free to sign anywhere.
Q: Doug: With the World Championships around the corner, I'd like to know if you think the NBA "star" players still get the automatic calls as they do in the NBA in the World Championship? I mean, on a team with nothing but stars (USA), I'd would think you have to officiate more straight up. What's your take?
Dee C, Sudbury
A: I think, for the most part, the officiating will be spotty and inconsistent and a huge bone of contention in almost every game. But I believe it will be equally bad for all concerned, rather than slanted in any one way.
Q: Hello Doug, I know these are the "dog days of summer" and all that, but I need to ask you a Raptors related question.
I'd consider myself a pretty big Raptors fan (Lord knows why), and this coming season leaves me with an odd feeling. The feeling is something like being lost at sea on a life raft. Can you give me a couple reasons to watch or attend some Raptors games this season. I need reason to be hopeful, and usually you are the voice of reason in a sea of despair of bloggers and columnist who fan the flames and trample on any hope I have left for a Toronto based team.
Thanks Doug, take care.
Bill V, Toronto
P.S.: I hope Aerosmith played some of the classics.
A: No, I can’t. And I won’t. The decision to support a team, or not support it, or appreciate a sport for its inherent beauty and grace is entirely individual and I can’t make up your mind for you. Nor would I be presumptuous enough to think I should.
I will say this: Basketball, more than any other sport I can think of, has one moment in every game that makes you go “holy crap” and that might be worth giving the sport a try, if not a specific team.
Q: Hey Doug. Just a quick Rudy Fernandez question. You said he'd have to battle with DeRozan, Weems, etc... for playing time, but isn't it safe to assume at least one of those players would be going back in a trade?
IMHO, I'd take Fernandez over either DeRozan or Weems.
Chris B, Toronto
A: I don’t believe the general manager shares your view. That’s about where it ends, I’m afraid.
Q: Hi Doug, great blog ... blah ... blah ... blah.
Have you heard anything about the Raptors games that are going to be shown on Sportsnet One? I believe on those who receive Rogers Cable will be able to see these games as it stands. That eliminates all of the Shaw and Bell subscribers and it does not appear to be any movement to put the channel on Shaw or Bell.
Christopher M, Victoria
A: It is a fact that more than a quarter of the games will be shown on Sportsnet One, which does bite for anyone on an alternative cable provider that has yet to strike a deal to carry the new network.
It will be the same as the atrocious TSN2 situation of a couple of years ago and, once again, shows a shocking disregard for the fans that speaks to total short-sightedness by the folks who make the big decisions around both the franchise and the network.
Q: Hi Doug. General managers often emphasize that the NBA is a business and therefore, no player is safe from being traded; however, if we look at the Raptors, and Sonny and Demar's wonderful video blogs, and Andrea's picture being linked to ticket sales web pages, are some players like Sonny, Demar, and Andrea informally safe of being traded?
Thanks for the writings..
Martin V, Toronto
A: No, it doesn’t mean anything, actually, in that regard. If Bryan thinks he can improve the team by moving someone the marketing department likes, he’ll do it regardless.
Q: Hi Doug, do you think Chris Bosh is ready to play on an NBA championship level team, seeing how he does not really have much playoffs experience compared to Wade and LeBron?
Do you believe Bosh has good enough defense which is essential for an NBA championship? Or will he be a liability in the playoffs for the Miami Heat?
Jay K, Brampton
A: Yes, undoubtedly and yes, he is good enough to defend – and play – for a championship team.
Q: Hi Doug. I am a Raptors season ticket holder that was moved to Vancouver last year for work reasons. I chose to keep my Raptors season tickets, knowing that when I return to Toronto I will have a playoff team waiting for me. I am thrilled that the Raptors will be coming to BC for both a preseason game and training camp, and wondered if, as possibly the only season ticket holder in this fine western province, there would be any opportunities during that time to meet any players or members of the team's coaching and broadcasting crew. I have been a season ticket holder for the 3 seasons since my graduation from university and can't wait for the season to start. Let me know if you think of anything - and I will be there watching anyway!
Evan S, Vancouver
A: Here’s the thing about training camp: You can’t see a thing. Nothing. The practices are closed, the bus pulls up right to the door (although some players will stop and sign quickly on the way out or in) and there is no public access. Heck, we only get to see about the last 20 minutes of every workout.
I don’t know if there are plans to hold a public scrimmage as they did in Ottawa the last two years but seeing how there’s the game at the end, I kind of doubt it.
Q: Doug, what do you think is the top priority for the Raptors? Getting a starting Centre to move Bargs to PF. Or shedding Jose's salary? What are some options or scenarios in which we could use the TPE?
Julio V, Vancouver
A: Neither of those. Jose’s salary is not an issue; Bargnani will play alongside Johnson, Davis and either Evans or Dorsey in a pretty interchangeable frontcourt. I think the major issue is finding some depth at the three and maybe another big and it doesn’t matter to me what you call his position.